School is back on write track

Headteacher Jon Gray with Alvar Bhutta, front centre, and other pupils

Headteacher Jon Gray with Alvar Bhutta, front centre, and other pupils Buy this photo

First published in Education Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by

A SCHOOL in special measures is hoping the Oxfordshire Reading Campaign will help it on its journey to becoming a good school.

Cutteslowe Primary School was placed in special measures in November last year but has just been told it is making good progress on all aspects highlighted in the inspection.

Ofsted inspectors have praised an effective phonics teaching system and faster progress in reading than in other areas.

Now staff are planning to use the reading campaign and accompanying resources to drive further improvements.

Deputy headteacher Sarah Gristwood said: “We want to involve our parents more in how children learn to read at school and how they can learn to read at home.”

Mrs Gristwood will coordinate the programme in school, while the teaching assistant leading the reading interventions will be Diane Saxton, with Debbie Cameron acting as volunteer coordinator.

The school already has volunteer readers from charity Assisted Reading for Children and Raintree publishers, along with grandparents and parents, and has a lunchtime story-telling club and a newspaper club which produces the Cutteslowe Newspaper each half-term.

A library bus visits the younger section of the school, while older children regularly visit Summertown Library. The school has recently spent £10,000 on phonics resources and books, including £3,000 of matched Government funding.

Alvar Bhutta, six, from Oxford, said: “I like reading because it’s fun. My favourite is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”

Cutteslowe is among the most ethnically diverse of the schools taking part in the campaign.

More than half of the pupils are from different nationalities, with 42 per cent speaking English as an additional language.

Twenty-seven different languages are spoken in school, while 36 per cent of youngsters have special educational needs and 40 per cent are eligible for free school meals.

The school launched the campaign to parents at a meeting last week.

Headteacher Jon Gray said: “It’s not just about picking up a book and reading, it’s just as important to play games with reading as you go round the supermarket, trying to open our eyes to all the different ways of reading.”

This summer, 70 per cent of pupils achieved a Level 2 or above — a rise of nearly 10 percentage points.

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